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Old Crimea

Old Crimea. Once, Kirim-Solkhat (the old name of the town from the 13 th century) was the capital city of the Crimean ulus of the Golden Horde. In the 15 th century, when the Crimean Khanate became a separate state, and Bakhchisaray obtained the sta­tus of its capital, the settlement fell into decay. Since then it acquired the name Eski-Crimea (in Tatar “eski” means “old”) so this name has been preserved to our time. However, let us return to the period of its flourishing. According to a legend the legendary Egyptian sultan Beibars came from this Crimean town. The ruins of the majestic Beibars mosque have been preserved to our time (13 th cent., 59 Ch­ervonoarmiyska St.). Another old temple is in a better state. In the 14 th century Uzbek-Khan of the Golden Horde introduced Is­lam as a state religion, and built a big mosque and medrese (religious school). Today the Mosque of Uzbek-Khan is the oldest functioning sanctuary of the Crimean Tatars (14 th cent., 1 LuhovaSt).

Beyond the southern outskirts of the old town there is another complex of restored sacral structures – the Armenian monastery Surb-Khach (“Holy Cross”) built in the 14 th century. A fresco on the church arch has survived from those times. In contrast to the mosque, admission to the monastery is free (accompanied by a guide). In the center of town there are several museums. The ethnographic Museum of the Crimean Tatars (29 Kalinin St.) was arranged in an old building on an ordinary Tatar farm-stead. The museum collection contains examples of national clothing, domestic articles, books, and so on. The staff of the Regional Museum will acquaint you with the history of the area (17 Svoboda St.). In the museum yard there is a Catherine’s “mile”- such road signs were installed on the way of Catherine II who visited Crimea in January 1787. The aim of the trip was to see new imperial possessions.

Beside the “mile” stands a stylized sailing ship reminding one of the romantic story “The Red Sails” by A. Grin. The writer lived his last years in Old Crimea. His house has been preserved and to­day it is Alexander Grin Museum (52 K. Liebknecht). A small figure of Frezi Grant, a character of his story, running on the waves, was placed on his grave in the Old Crimea cemetery, which is located to the right of the highway, beside the bus sta­tion).

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